As You Grow Wiser, You Will Observe More Clearly, The Dysfunction Of Certain Others. Yourself Included.
Wisdom goes hand in hand with bravery. As well as, with thoughtful consideration and analysis of relationships, varying situations throughout life, and even, of ourselves.
And this will make all the difference in the type of life you will lead.
Those who aren’t especially wise likely do not dare to look close, with unvarnished and unbiased courage, at themselves, at those surrounding them, and at life.
As a result, much of their life, instead, may go largely unexamined. And this can come at a steep cost.
These types tend to be people who follow the crowd. The ones who do not dare speak up or set themselves apart. These are the people who do not question much outwardly, even if inwardly, they feel question marks arising.
These people tend not to seek much learning or further growth over the course of their lives. They might make the same, or similar, mistakes over and over again, then wondering why they continue getting the same results.
They often fall into friendships and relationships, rather than choosing them with careful thought, consideration, and intent. They also remain in stagnant or expired relationships, out of habit, fear, and laziness. These people often select those who are “popular” or “cool” rather than watching carefully, the true character and nature of a person before choosing to get close with them.
And, these types tend to not observe, as clearly, readily, or accurately, the dysfunctions and problematic behaviors of some people in their lives, themselves included.
The great risk with this is that these people are far more likely to find themselves in subpar or even poor social connections as a result.
The most ready-made example of this: the reasonably popular person in your office (I’ve got one. Do you?). This person is witty, animated, they swagger and sway as they walk. Snark is their second language. They act as though when moving through the layout of the land, fellow colleagues will gasp in awe and giggle in admiration at their jokes, snappy comebacks, and wry observations. When their name is spoken, they come running in excitement. Then remark with sarcasm that, “of course” you were talking about them.
Many people in the office will like this person, because “lots of other people do.” The whole “social proof” thing, follow-the-crowd mentality. “If other people seem to like this person, then they must actually be cool and likable!”
The second reason for this though, is that far too many people lack wisdom.
They do not readily engage in the act of deep thought, careful observation, and in-depth analysis of the people with whom they spend time.
Because, for the few who do this, they might instead observe that this reasonably popular person is, in actuality, kind of nasty much of the time. That the way in which he speaks of his partner is often disdainful, belittling, and not especially affectionate. That he is frequently cutting, dismissive, and cruel. And that in reality, he is not particularly warm or kind. On the contrary, he is actually sort of mean.
But because he’s packaged his meanness in such a way that it makes people laugh, he is likable.
Most people do not dig this deep. Instead, they glance at the surface and sum up quickly: funny, check. Popular, check. People seem to like him or her, check (which, of course, we tend to forget, does not necessarily mean that he or she is truly liked. Since all of us act in many ways that are not indicative of how we actually feel).
Because kindness, warmth, and goodness of heart are not found in how “popular” someone is, nor in how “witty” and “snarky” they are. These qualities of real character are not hinted at by “coolness” or the number of followers one has. They aren’t exhibited by how readily they can make others laugh, or how easily they might be able to schmooze the boss.
Warmth, goodness of heart, integrity, and kindness are made plain via the way in which someone speaks about and regards their partner to others- when their partner isn’t around. It’s hinted at by the curiosity and interest with which they approach others- not feigned, as this fakery is obvious and can be smelled from a mile away by those with wisdom, but instead, authentic interest.
Kindness is shown in those who include others, who take the time to ask and actually listen. Warmth is exhibited by body language, the look in one’s eyes, the way in which we regard others via speech and gestures.
Disdain is not kindness.
Arrogance is not warmth.
Dismissal toward others is not goodness of heart.
This was but one example. There can be and are many more.
As (and only if) we grow wiser, these aspects of others come to stand out with greater clarity.
Where prior, we might have seen the charm, now we might realize there is extreme arrogance. Where before, we may have assumed intelligence, we come to see self-righteousness. Where prior, we might have reasoned someone away as having a “strong personality,” we may now understand is controlling and bullying.
None of this is saying that the traits listed above are, in actuality and automatically, the negative ones I listed following them. Not so.
Instead, my message is that, as we grow wiser, and with the people who are dysfunctional and not necessarily so nice at heart, that is when we come to see and understand this fully.
As we come into wisdom, we see the truth of others more clearly.
This includes oneself as well.
As we become wiser and more courageous, we dare to look more closely at our own behavior, weaknesses, mistakes, and neurosis too. Where prior we might have clung to, “I meant well!” We then come to admit, “though I’m ashamed of this, in truth, I acted with a degree of dismissal and selfishness and thus, did not really do right by the other person.”
Where before, we might have concluded, “well, they were a jerk first. They provoked me into it,” we might later admit, “I wasn’t so nice either, and in fact, maybe some of my actions provoked them equally.”
And when previously we concluded, “I’m just busy, and others should understand all my cancelations,” we can come to acknowledge, “well…maybe I’m actually kind of flakey,” or, “I think I’m just confident, but maybe in actuality, it’s arrogance, and this isn’t such a great thing. Maybe that is putting people off.”
You get the idea.
With wisdom comes clarity.
With internal growth comes courage and greater insight, into life, others, and ourselves.
And with this clearer lens, toward others, life, and ourselves, this will begin to alter drastically, the ways in which you approach, relate to, and consider other people, scenarios, and yourself. This is a good thing.
Lastly, wisdom does not just dawn itself on us randomly and automatically.
Many people will never become wise.
Wisdom doesn’t bestow itself on us with age. No, we must seek it out actively. And beyond this, we must purposefully integrate it into our lives, via the choices we make, the ways we behave, and the knowledge we acquire.
The people who never grow into wisdom are those who have chosen not to. They are the ones who do not purposefully seek growth.
They avoid reading, learning, and introspection.
They dodge the hard work of facing their weaknesses and bad behavior.
They never really change their behavior accordingly, considering where they might do better next time, or where they may have gone wrong this time, and then shifting their actions next time.
They are not typically courageous or brave. Instead, they are weak and avoidant. They might put on a big act of bravado via public face, but rest assured, this is not true courage.
Genuine bravery is found in facing fully, head-on, the moments which are most emotionally challenging for us. The cowardly shy away from this.
They prefer what is easy at the moment, instead of what is right and that which will provide the greatest authentic fulfillment over the big picture.
People who lack wisdom tend to run with the crowd. They pick friends and lovers who are just…there. Or, those who are “popular”, “cool”, or “hot.” They do not consider more deeply and thoughtfully, the inner character and quality of the heart of a person. They tend to settle frequently and pick poorly, the personalities with which they surround themselves.
These types tend to lack the ability to take personal responsibility for their behavior. They resist problem-solving, change, and evolving.
They do not tend to apologize or own their actions.
They are not typically humble or thoughtful.
They remain inside the box, rarely if ever daring to venture outside of its confines.
Your life will flourish, change for the better, and evolve in wondrous ways when you purposefully seek wisdom and growth.
The relationships in your life will readily improve.
You will feel happier and emotionally healthier.
As you grow wiser and more emotionally healthy, your priorities will shift, from shallow, materialistic ones which do not provide any lasting happiness or contentment- and which in fact, tend to breed anxiety and insecurity (such as, “hotness” of appearance, money, status, popularity, number of followers, labels, and material goods) to priorities which offer powerful, genuine, lasting fulfillment (such as, deep emotional connections with others, learning, knowledge, forgiveness, adventure, the health of your body and mind, doing your best, and treating others well, to name a few).
This will not always be easy.
In fact, often it’s inconvenient, painful, and challenging.
Admitting the bad within you, and then acting in significant ways to change it, this is not for the lazy or faint of heart. Acknowledging that someone you love is, in reality, not such a great person, this will be deeply painful. Making the time for personal reflection and growth can be inconvenient, with regard to our ever busy, packed full schedules of today.
However, people who lead purposeful, truly fulfilling, emotionally healthy, and happy lives, are those who make a point to seek out wisdom. Even when it’s painful. Even when it’s inconvenient. Even when it’s incredibly hard.
They are those who shift their thoughts, actions, and activities accordingly, to make the acquiring of wisdom a top priority.